So here I am in sunny Amsterdam, having spent the day at SAP TechEd talking to the company about its approach to ecosystems. The headline – would have to be – lowering the barriers to participation. I am here, right?
Shai Agassi gave a very business focused pitch – less TechEd than “Partnering with SAP 101.”
He said SAP would provide three years of what it calls “white space” before moving to fill in the spaces it has identified in its portfolio for partners to work in.
I was a bit worried he also said it might take three years for a partner investment in SAP to really pay off… I can’t think of many investors that have three years worth of patience… or grassroots devs that don’t have mouths to feed long before then. The kind of patience that the SAP board showed when Shai failed to win any customers the first quarter after SAP acquired his firm is in short supply.
When is a Community a Cartel?
Nils Herzberg gave a solid performance looking at tecosystems from the Industry Value Networks perspective. That is – the communities SAP is building with major vertical industry players such as Du Pont or in chemicals. Nils raised an extremely interesting issue I had not previously considered. IVNs from the outside can look suspiciously like cartels, bringing together, as they do, significant players, so concentrating the market. There is a significant issue here, and one that I feel might be helped with greater transparency. Basically if deals are done behind closed doors in smoky rooms (well probably not that smoky but you know what I mean) between major industry players around infrastructure choices and standard interfaces there is a potential for antitrust scrutiny. That’s another issue to consider when building communities around market leaders, another take on shared information and services.
From Business to Scripts to Ubuntu
I bumped into Craig Cmehill, he of script in a box, and met Eric Wood, SAP’s go-to-guy for enterprise widgets. He has a great techdork title – Emerging Solutions Imagineering.
Interestings news – it looks like Ubuntu might take up Craig’s script in a box approach to allow portage for scripting stacks.
Meanwhile Eric is thinking through the issues of single sign on for widgets. Say you’re a bank that wants to give customers a widget to track something. Security is critical.
I have a new Thinkpad – and decided to give some new Microsoft technology a go. So here is a WYSIWYG client for blogging.
disclaimers: SAP is not a client.